Supplements and You: Which Products You Should Avoid Using on a Regular Basis
As active men, we have a vision of having a ripped six pack, boundless energy and the mental fortitude to tackle any obstacle put in front of us with Spartan-like tenacity. Along the journey of transform our physique, we will inevitably visit a supplement store to see which products can help us maximize our muscle and reduce fat gain. Although almost every supplement that lines the isles at these stores claims their product is the best, there are certain supplements that have been proven to not live up to their hype. If you’re a man that wants to get into the best shape of his life, here are some over the counter products you may want to avoid in the future.
Creatine is one of the most scientifically-studied supplements on the market today with decades of research to back up its benefits. However, one side effect that many people don’t discuss is how the product might induce male pattern baldness and increase the rate in which men lose their hair. Hair loss, among other things, is something that strikes men at the core of their ego and renders them helpless, embarrassed and lacking confidence in their daily endeavors.
In essence, creatine plays a role in the production of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) within the system and may produce unwanted side effects. DHT is a powerful hormone that produces typical indicators of masculinity such as increased strength, improved sexual appetite and the rate in which body fat is burned throughout the day. However, elevated levels of DHT have been shown to make men go bald at a rapid rate. Although the scientific literature sways to both sides, creatine may influence male-pattern baldness — tread with caution!
For males that seem to have trouble putting on weight, mass and weight gaining shakes are marketed as a way of packing on the pounds and gaining size. The way that this is accomplished is by having each serving size come packed with copious calories, carbs and fats that boost body weight in a short period of time. Although this sounds like the perfect product for skinny guys to bulk up, the opposite is quite true.
For a man that wants to put on quality weight, eating in a small, controlled caloric surplus is all that’s required. Weight gainers tend to have excessive calories that, when consumed without caution, lead to unwanted fat gain and weight that becomes unmanageable. The proper way to put on size is to calculate one’s total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and add five-hundred calories to the number that is given. Our TDEE is a basic caloric limit that our system needs to maintain its current body weight and perform basic functions such as brain activity, cardiovascular regulation and digestion. When we introduce a small caloric surplus to this equation, we can begin gaining weight in such a way that does not lead to excessive fat buildup.
Although this information may be hard to hear for some readers, the news is in: vitamin C is not needed. In fact, new scientific data shows that most vitamins — specifically vitamin C — provide little to no benefit on the user. However, individuals that have severe vitamin deficiencies may experience a slight boost in their immune system when they take this vitamin.
An article released by Science Alert recently dove into the claims that vitamins help thwart off life-threatening problems like heart disease, increased blood pressure and premature death. According to their data, these vitamins played no significant role in the health of patients that were used in the study.
Vitamin C is often touted as the king of immune-boosting vitamins and is used by people to thwart off oncoming colds, fevers and instances of the flu. Popular literature is now revealing that only a small portion of the population, specifically individuals that partake in cold-weather activities, are the only ones that benefit. In healthy individuals that have no pre-existing problems, vitamin C has been shown to produce no beneficial side effects.
Over-The-Counter Testosterone Boosters
One of the most popular over the counter supplements targeted towards males are products that are designed to improve their masculinity by increasing their testosterone levels. Supplements like Horny Goat Weed, Tribulus and Maca powder make grandiose claims that when a man begins to take the product, their testosterone levels will skyrocket. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
To further illustrate these bogus claims, a study followed elite-level rugby players in their preseason training regimen. The scientists performed a double-blind approach that would give certain players Tribulus terrestris supplements and the other group a placebo. Following the 5-week study, scientists found that there were no differences in muscle or testosterone between the two test group.
In summary, men need to do their research before taking any supplement. Most are not approved by the FDA and many are manufactured overseas where the standards of production are extremely low. If you have concerns about supplements or vitamins, speak with your physician first.